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Genetics, In the News, Research

Mexican-American, African-American genomes sequenced

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To date a majority of personal genomes come from persons of European, African or Asian descent. But a better understanding of the genetic make-up of people with mixed ancestry could aid scientists in identifying causes and, potentially, cures for complex diseases.

This weekend at the Genetics 2010 conference, Stanford geneticist Carlos Bustamante, PhD, reported (.pdf) that he and colleagues had sequenced the genomes for two people of mixed ethnic ancestry – a Mexican-American and an African-American. Science News reports:

Not surprisingly, analyses of the two people’s DNA revealed genomes that reflect the people’s mixed ancestry. The African-American person has genetic roots in both West Africa and Europe, while the Mexican-American carries the genetic legacies of both Native American and European ancestors.

More unexpectedly, fine-scale DNA analysis shows that Native Americans may have as much genetic diversity as some African populations known to have a great deal of genetic diversity.

Image by AndrewEick

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